WHAT’S NEW AT PC PITSTOP, OCTOBER 2003
Thanks for using PC Pitstop! Here’s an update on what’s new at our site, plus some helpful tips to help you get the most out of your computer.
IN THIS ISSUE
- Social Engineering Viruses Running Rampant
- Keep Windows Fully Patched
- The Real Microsoft Security Newsletter
- Security Tip: Toss Viruses in the Trash Automatically
- SoBig Virus Actually a Spamming Engine
- Stay In Touch At The Pit
SOCIAL ENGINEERING VIRUSES RUNNING RAMPANT
The number one threat to your computer is … YOU! Several viruses making the rounds are disguised as official-looking messages that claim to have an important security patch. Attached to this message is a file with a name like PATCH.EXE that they urge you to run, but it is actually a virus. Remember, Microsoft never sends patches to users by email. The only safe way to get a Microsoft patch is directly from the Microsoft web site. Don’t be tricked into infecting your own system by these “social engineering” tactics! New virus threats are appearing every day, and it sometimes takes several days for a new virus to be recognized by many antivirus programs. Don’t assume that an email is safe just because it was not caught by your antivirus program! If you think you’ve caught a virus that hasn’t yet been identified, use our full tests and stop by our forums:
KEEP WINDOWS FULLY PATCHED
The Windows Update site is the official source for Microsoft patches and fixes. Windows Me, 2000, and XP users can use the Automatic Updates option in Control Panel to have Windows automatically download important patches and notify you when they are ready to install. Still, it’s a good idea to visit the Windows Update site occasionally to make sure you haven’t missed any patches:
If you have Microsoft Office, be sure to keep it up to date as well. Microsoft has a separate update center for Office that includes both patches and new features you can download:
THE REAL MICROSOFT SECURITY NEWSLETTER
Do you want to make sure you are up to date with the latest Windows patches and fixes? Visiting Windows Update is usually all you need to do. For important security issues, though, Microsoft does send out bulletins through a newsletter. REMEMBER: MICROSOFT NEVER SENDS PATCHES THROUGH EMAIL! Here’s where to sign up for Microsoft’s newsletter:
Microsoft Newsletter Sign In
If you prefer to check a web page rather than get emails, stop by the Microsoft Security Center for the latest info:
SECURITY TIP: TOSS VIRUSES IN THE TRASH AUTOMATICALLY
Most email programs have the ability to process mail based on the subject or content of the message. You can use that feature to eliminate viruses from your inbox. For example, you are probably getting a lot of emails generated by the Swen virus with the subject line of “Use this patch immediately!” To automatically delete them in Outlook Express 6, click Tools | Message Rules | Mail. For the condition, put a check next to the box “Where the subject line contains specific words”. Then click the underlined link in the rule and add the phrase “Use this patch immediately” to the list. For the action, check the box “Delete it”. Alternatively, you can choose an action to move the email to a folder so you can examine it later. Make sure the words or phrases you use here are unique so that you won’t be deleting legitimate mail! Remember, this doesn’t eliminate the need for a good antivirus program.
SOBIG VIRUS ACTUALLY A SPAMMING ENGINE
Did you ever wonder why someone would spend their time and energy developing something as bad as a computer virus? With the emergence of the SoBig virus, it appears that profit has now become a motive. This virus actually takes over your system and can be used by spammers to send out spam to anyone. Different variants of the virus have come and gone, several of them have expired and no longer infect systems. But since SoBig was successful we are probably just seeing the start of this type of virus. Be prepared. make sure you run a good antivirus and spyware scanner.
STAY IN TOUCH AT THE PIT
With all the spyware and viruses that are threatening PCs nowadays, you need to stay in touch with the latest computer developments. Stop by the PC Pitstop Forums, also known as The Pit, for help with your computer problems, answers to questions about your PC Pitstop results, or just to say hello.
ABOUT PC PITSTOP
PC Pitstop, LLC (http://www.pcpitstop.com) was formed in February 2000, and offers users a unique way to make sure their PCs are running fast, stable and secure–all through a free, Web-based interface.
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